During this term our class too a field trip to George Jay Elementary to listen to Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt, a kindergarten teacher and co-author of the book Inquiry Mindset. Although I was unable to attend, I did listen to the audio recording of the lecture and it got me feeling pretty excited about practicum and my future as a teacher.
Some of the main points that I took away from the lecture recording are…
First things first, what is in your educator heart!? Rebecca posted a picture of her educator heart with a pretty good reminder to all of us in this feild. She advises us all to find ways to set boundaries and take care of yourself. Think of your educator heart and take a moment to know what you are taking from things and how it fits into your educator heart. Alot of kids find it difficult to learn, and she strives to create conditions where learning is successful.
It was great to hear Rebecca talk about how passionate she is about inquiry based learning, where kids in her classroom have the opportunity to express what they are interested and have that lead their learning. I love this mind set and cant wait to see how I can put it into action and learn from her!
One point that Rebecca made that really resignated with me as well was her emphasis on relationships in the classroom. They are so important! Relationships should be the first thing you are working on in your classroom. She asks “remember what your favourite grade was? It probably stems back to a relationship in that class.” This is so true for me. Every classroom that I remember loving I loved because I loved my teacher, or I loved my classmates, or both! Rebecca notes that relationships are important when it comes to inquiry as well, as they allow for an environmet where children feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and wonderings.
I also really appriciated Rebeccas emphasis on the celebration of learning and making learning visual through inquiry. Rebecca tells us of a quote she has heard from a colleague of hers, “It is not the icing on the cupcake that matters, its the batter” but for Rebecca it IS the icing! The icing is the celebration of learning, the ‘icing on the cake’ that can be done through events and showcases to show learning. This provides an opportunity for students to express their joy in learning.
I liked that Rebecca made alot of connections to practicum and what we might be thinking about in the stage we are in now. She tells us that when lesson planning, see if you can change how you talk about students learning. See if it can be based on a question, rather than you holding all the answers. Inquiry does need to be structured for it to be successful but try to work on having children ask questions and be curious.
Within a classroom there are different ways to honour questions: a wonder wall, a curiosity jar etc. but what does it look like? It is important to have an environment that allows for choice and voice so during practicum try to work on how to allow students to ask questions and have them heard.
I loved all the pictures of Rebecca’s classroom and I really appriciate her effort to keep the items in her classroom natural and wholesome. She tells us to try to build your classroom with your students and have space for collaboration, and start collecting things for your classroom! There will be alot of things that you will want for your classroom, but she tries to keep things on the natural side and open ended where students can use their imagination and play in multiple ways with the same toys.
I really wish I could have gone to this lecture, but I am grateful that I had the chance to listen to what was said and to see some of the visuals that were provided at the lecture. I am so excited to have a classroom of my own one day!